Back in February, I remembered why I loved drum & bass, and it had everything to do with the music of one producer: Digital. What's hilarious is that, since then, he's been getting a host of releases under his belt. We're talking the Figjam EP on Horizons Music, the "Shaka Zulu" single on Ingredients, and a pair of tunes on Platinum Breakz 4. And that's not even mentioning the tough tough "Bitter Wind." You could smell the hard work in the air, and the tunes he was churning out were well worth whatever wait we had been going through. With the release of Figjam and "Shaka Zulu" relatively close together, it made sense to sit down with Digital and get an idea of where his head was at right now. He also went in the mix, giving the DAD Mix series almost 80 minutes of drum & bass pressure!
Your output has seen quite the resurgence over the last year - what’s sparked this recent batch of output?
When I look back on my career I realize that I’m happy to work very long hours because when I’m on a roll I like to stay on it but there’s a problem with that as "normal life stuff" suffers. I go in to a studio hole that results in a load of random tracks, plenty of facial hair, fast food, and hardly any exercise. I swear blind, "This time I’ll get a decent balance between life and studio time." But that doesn’t happen hence me taking a long time off. I suppose its a work hard/play hard thing.
Another reason is the fact that I love that artists and DJs are more open regarding tempo so I’m really excited about producing some music from 100-174 BPM.
We also noticed that you and Spirit linked back up and have put out some releases. What brought you guys back together?
Without getting too personal about a few problems over the years we decided to man up and pull our finger out as we really think we have something to offer drum & bass.
The slow mix of “Figjam” and your Platinum Breakz 4 contribution “Mini Cooper” have been a bit on the slower side of things. How does this facet of your production fit into where you’re going as a producer?
I’m open to whatever tempo and the fact that I use soft synths after years of twisting up samples has really opened my mind. I feel more confident to make the music that I actually listen to like dub, reggae, techno, and house rather than the style I’m known for.
Talk us about the Figjam EP and this new single on Ingredients. Were these tunes that were finished relatively recently, or have you had them around for a bit and they’re just getting a release?
All these tracks are from December 2013 onwards, but I do have a fair amount of tracks around that are from 2011 onwards. No one really notices because I’m not the kind of artist who rolls with the current trend however, in the past I’ve tried but I’m rubbish at it so I stick to what I know [laughs].
During drum & bass’ last heyday, where damn near everyone had a distro deal, we remember you forming the LOAD collective and really helping usher out a fine batch of material. What’s it like today, operating in a world where it’s digital first? Do you feel as if the quality control has gone down?
I can’t really keep up with what’s out there because there is so much music to listen and, hey, I’ve got a zillion tracks to make! One thing I do know is that some of my favourite DJ’s sets sound a bit loose. I used to love the fact that a DJ found a track they thought was the bomb so they kept playing it. Then again it could be an Internet thing, as DJs like to post a podcast/mix every month and they want to be seen as a DJ with a whole set of fresh tracks every month.
What’s set for you in the second-half of 2014? Any forthcoming releases you can talk about?
I have a few I can’t talk about just yet, but Spirit and I have a Horizons release and a Metalheadz 12" plus I have another Ingredients 12", a 31 Records EP, a Dispatch EP, a Technique Recordings EP, and something on Inception Audio which is an alien-based label from Bedford run by an interesting friend of mine called Jose. I’m part of the alien ship now so I’m looking forward to traveling through the universe with Inception Audio! The tracks are called "Let Them Live" / "Abducted’ (Missing Time)."
I love the three-track EP thing at the moment because it enables me to open the vibes up plus I’m going to sneak in some different tempo bits in there.. I’ll be running Function again from late 2014 and all releases will have at least three tracks on the one vinyl, with at least one slower, dubbed-out track or some kind of quirky thing on the 12".
What are five of your tunes that you feel people should check out to get an idea of what you’re about?
"Spacefunk," "Gateman," "Deadline," "New Age Jungle Funk" (which is forthcoming on the Digital Sound EP on Technique) and "The Wolf," a collaboration with Spirit that is forthcoming on Metalheadz.
Talk to us about what heads can hear in this mix.
Dubbed out breaks to make ya booty shake
Do androids dance?
Yes, but not as good as me.